The Romanovs were pioneers of photography — in the early 20th century they owned the world's first portable Kodak cameras and captured almost every meaningful event in their lives.
On July 17, 1918, the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Nicholas Romanov, was executed with his wife and five children by the Bolsheviks. To pay tribute to the family, we merged a large set of visual data with transmedia storytelling to piece out the big picture of a "lost Russia". This is the story of the Empire's last royal family through thousands of their own photographs.
#Romanovs100 is a comprehensive cross-platform social media project unveiling photographs from a unique collection preserved by the Russian State Archive. This vast family chronicle is a detailed first-hand witness account of the early 20th century - for decades this part of Russian history was eradicated from school-books and kept in the dark during the Soviet rule. Today, we bring it back to the spotlight.
#Romanovs100 is an educational narrative which aims to show that learning history can be compelling and interactive. With #Romanovs100 we continue to experiment with innovative formats and digital approaches in educational storytelling. Our creative strategy can be summarized in three key objectives: "Engage. Inspire. Educate." #Romanovs100 is a research into history through the visual language of photography combined with the digital reality of social media.
The Romanov archive is perhaps the first private photo chronicle in history to boast such detail and scope. With our project we wanted to pay a "live" tribute to the last ruling family, giving these photographs - once kept in family albums - a second, digital life in social networks. Several thousand photos added up to create a dynamic narrative, which was then shared on social media accounts image-by-image.
Our team's objective is to demonstrate how interactive educational projects can resonate with "new generations" fully-adapted to gadgets and a "news feed mentality"; to highlight how innovative storytelling can help young people engage with history.
Each published photograph was thoroughly researched to create linear and non-linear storytelling depending on the platform. To create each post, the team turned to dozens of different sources ranging from personal diaries and letters by Nicholas II himself, to memoirs written by his contemporaries and extensive works by Russian and foreign historians.
#Romanovs100 Facebook account can boast high-quality photos and panoramas from the Romanovs' collection mixed with lyrical stories about the lives of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their five children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Tsarevich Alexei.
Panoramic images, made by the royal family with a revolutionary camera of the day - Kodak №1 Panoram were adapted for Facebook format. Many of them are rare photo documents of the era like very detailed shots of Moscow, St Petersburg and provincial life. We also transformed 100 year-old photos into 3D to immerse in the extraordinary life of Russia's last royal family.
Over 30 short-style documentary videos based on the Romanovs' extensive photo archive were created for Facebook specifically - featuring most important events in the family, trips and official visits, work days and leisure time.
To engage our Facebook followers to become active participants of #Romanovs100 project we held digital colorization contest of vintage images judged by renowned artist Marina Amaral. We offered them a selection of three images from the Romanovs' archive to colorize. People from all over the world - Canada, America, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, Indonesia, the Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago and other countries - took part in the contest.
While working on the project we found several photos partially colored by the youngest daughter of Nicholas II and Alexandra – Anastasia. We partnered up with Marina Amaral to finish the work the Grand Duchess started over 100 years ago.
We also created a 360 experience to fully immerse viewers into the story. The team picked 10 images from the Romanovs photo collection, collaborated with famous Russian singer Peter Nalitch to compose a tender tune (as if Romanovs are singing a lullaby to their children) and built a surreal world around photos and lyrics in VR animation. The created artwork is unique as it combines century-old photos with VR animation in Quill with cinema and After Effects. Drawn and animated in Virtual Reality, the clip was turned into a unique 360 experience.
#Romanovs100 is widely acclaimed by educators, historians and researchers in higher-education. Our team already made several presentations at 2nd and 3rd level institutions. The project was selected to be part of the official educational program of America's biggest creative festival - SXSW 2019 in Austin, Texas. #Romanovs100 is also showcasing at ASU GSV X forum in San Diego, focusing on innovations in education, and PromaxBDA Europe, gathering the best-inclass creative case studies in TV industry.
#Romanovs100 had an impressive impact across social media. The project generated over 25 million impressions & gathered around 55,000 fans & followers combined. Social media posts generated over 1 million engagements (likes, shares, comments, retweets). Our short documentary videos on Facebook and YouTube gained 1+ million video views with over half-a-million minutes of watchtime.
In just 100 days, the project's Facebook account generated over 9 million impressions & gathered over 28,000 followers with 30% of fans aged between 18 and 24. Our short documentary videos on Facebook gained over 771, 000 video views with 283,000 minutes of watchtime.
#Romanovs100 became the key hashtag during the centenary of the Romanovs' death on Twitter worldwide. During 16-17th July #Romanovs100 hashtag usage grew more than 2,000% with the project's unique tag featured in tweets by museums, history magazines, publishers, historians, students and educators. The project received wide global media coverage, featuring in The History Extra magazine, BBC News Hour, Tatler, Sky News, Daily Mail, The Sunday Telegraph, Quartz, Culture Trip and more.
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